Detective Samuel Slater, Jr.

Detective Samuel Slater, Jr.

Grand Rapids Police Department, Michigan

End of Watch Friday, December 9, 1921

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Samuel Slater, Jr.

Detective Slater and Special Officer George Brandsma were shot and killed after responding to a house to arrest suspect bank robbers, four men and one woman. Detective Slater and Officer Brandsma were acting on a tip that said two suspected bank robbers were at a house at 455 Weaver Street SE (Present day Ardmore Street SE) .. The tip was thought to be false by Detective Slater since so many tips had been false throughout the day. Detective Slater elected to take just one officer, Officer Brandsma, to assist him.

As the officers arrived at the home of the tipster, who lived across from the suspect's home, the suspects saw them and turned out all the lights. The two officers watched the home for a short time, and then decided to go knock on the door.

As the two officers were walking up the sidewalk leading to the door of the suspect's home, shots rang out. Detective Slater was shot through the door.

Officer Brandsma rushed the door and forced his way into the home but was shot several times when be entered the home and was killed instantly. Detective Slater staggered back to the tipster's home where he collapsed. He was brought to the hospital by responding officers and died two days later.

Detective Slater was murdered on his 54th birthday. He had served with the Grand Rapids Police Department for 24 years and was survived by his wife and three children.

The suspects escaped in a stolen car. One was captured in Detroit, convicted of murder, and sentenced to life. On August 16, 1931, during a riot at Marquette Penitentiary he was shot in the chest by a rioting inmate when he risked his life in an attempt to save the prison doctor and a fellow inmate, whom the rioters killed. He later recovered and in consideration for his heroism was released on May 4, 1932.

On December 18, 1922, four men and two women in Denver, Colorado, robbed a federal mint bank truck and got away with $200,000. As the suspects fled a bank truck guard jumped on the running board and shot one robber. A month later the car, with his his frozen body inside, was found in a remote place near Denver. He was identified as one of the killers of Officer Brandsma and Detective Slater. The other two men were identified but never captured. It is not known if they were suspects in the Denver mint robbery.

It was later discovered, the woman involved in the Grand Rapids murders of Detective Slater and Officer Brandsma was also one of the two women involved in the Denver Mint robbery. On March 10, 1932, She along with another woman were found in a burned out car near Turtle Lake, Wisconsin. Both had been shot to death.

14 years earlier, Detective Slater's brother, Patrolman Henry Slater, also of the Grand Rapids Police Department was killed after being struck by a train while standing on his post.


  • Age 54
  • Tour 24 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Incident Date Wednesday, December 7, 1921
  • Weapon Gun; Unknown type
  • Offender Not available

arrest attempt, robbery

Most Recent Reflection

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Det. Slater,
On today, the 100th anniversary of your death I would just like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for the citizens of Grand Rapids. And to your Family and loved ones, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy.


United States Border Patrol

December 9, 2021

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